A May Long Weekend a long ways from home
Welcome to Seaside!
This is out ninth consecutive May Long
trip. Most of these trips involve the rental of a house (with one
exception - a May
Long Weekend Camping Trip
), and half of them have been trips to
smaller gulf Islands (Salt Spring
, and Gabriola
This year, we decided to heard south - far south - to Coast of
I actually visited this area once before with my sister and while I
enjoyed it, I wasn't really happy with the pictures (which is hard
given how beautiful this area is). So we packed up a smaller crew
(this year we were at most seven, compared to an average year of about
nine) and drove south.
We booked a house through a local service and
picking up the key, we surveyed our surroundings - a walk to the beach
was in order. The beach was only about two blocks and after so
much driving, the walk was appreciated.
Two things really surprised me - first
rocky beach, and second, the low fog bank. I was sure that there
was a sandy beach here so I was quite surprised to see the rock.
(Most of the beach at seaside is in fact sand, but at the far south it
is rock). The fog bank hung around for most of our trip - I think
it's the nature of warm atmosphere meets cold water. I was quite
happy to see the fog because it does often make for dramatic photos.
Helen and Stephen went down onto the sand to feel the water on their
toes. They were quickly reminded that this is the open coast and
there is surprising variation in how big the waves are when they come
in. I tried hard not laugh.
The plants here are very similar to home, but they seem to be well
ahead of our plants for growth. I guess latitude really does
count for something.
We found a park bench and watched the sun set. We were lucky to
have such a clear evening and the fog on the horizon made for beautiful
Wreck of the Peter Iredale
The next morning we took a brief trip into Astoria to discover the
farmers market is on Sunday. On the way back, we decided to visit
wreck of the Peter Iredale. This ship wreck is over 100 years old
ran aground in 1906) so it's little more than a rusting frame rising
out of the beach. It was a beautiful morning so we were just
happen to be out in the warm sand enjoying the sun.
Us photographer kind of descended on the wreck
desperately searched for a good angle to capture the strangeness of the
wreck while still being grounded enough to not be a puzzle.
We went back home, met up with Rob and Jeremy (who drove down from
Seattle this morning) and decided to drive down to Canon beach.
The Haystack rock is shocking to see when you come upon it, but it is
strangely beautiful. There seems to be an ever present halo
of birds flying around the rock and no shortage of people walking up
and down the beach.
We took a few minutes to take some portraits.
Having been exposed to a lot of sun, we headed back to the house for a
bit of a rest (and some lunch). We walked down to the
Seaside Aquarium (sadly, a faint shadow of the Vancouver Aquarium, but
the "feed the seals" was popular. Near sunset I drove back to
near Canon beach to Ecola State Park for a bit of research/scouting.
None of us brought large games (we once played Diplomacy for much of
day), but we managed to find a crib board and broke out the
We concluded that crib is a long range stats game (like bridge, no
single round can unequivocally demonstrate the relative skill of the
players), and our two rounds were insufficient to declare a
winner. Still lots of fun though!
Tidepools in Ecola State Park
I like the tide pools and our walk on Canon
reminded me that this area is good for tide pools (not Canon beach
though, as near as I can tell). In the morning (when the tide was
low), Helen, Kat and I drove to Ecola State Park to check out the tide
pools. I was blown away by the coastal trees in fog when we
After a brief walk down, we found lots
of life on the rocks. Anemones are doing really well here (which
says to me few people walk here) but there was little else I could find
(even the ocher stars were a long ways out). I was still quite
happy with the walk though.
Ecola state park is an underused location in
opinion. It's a little hard to get to, but it has fantastical
views and forests. If I was back here again, Ecola State Park
would be more of my schedule.
Astoria is a pretty little town that at one
number 2 on the cities by size in Oregon. With the decline of
fish processing and local logging, the town is trying to make due with
tourism and other nontraditional inputs (they were the setting for a
film that shall remain nameless). Given the history of the area,
I think they are making a pretty good go of it. The cruise ship
that docks once a week seems to back that up.
Ever the farmers market enthusiast, we stopped
Sunday farmers market. In Vancouver, out farmers markets are
still pretty much closed in May, but this multi-block affair is going
strong. There were lots of crafts (more than one "oyster Santa
clause tree ornaments"), and very little farmers vegetables.
There was a pretty impressive food stall area (including some pretty
decent Mexican food), but Helen and Kat were after the local
Sea lion Cave
Quite frankly, I am often not the brightest
Oregon isn't very close to British Columbia so you know you have
signed up for a long drive getting there and getting back. So
what should you avoid once you get there? Long drives. Me -
not so smart. Other people who have visited the coast kept
commenting on the sand dunes. Figuring that the sand dunes are in
the the south and the drive down must be pretty, why not do a day's
driving trip? Short answer - the sand dunes are a lot further
away than you think, and you will be sick of driving before you start
your trip home. That said, the trip south was well worth it.
actually found the Sea lion caves brochure and
he seemed pretty set on it once he knew about it. Once we arrived
(and I could smell their bad breath), I knew Stephen was right - this
was a destination worth the time.
I was a quite surprised by the birds. Just as we arrived, I
large birds fly by. Turns out they were Turkey Vultures - a bird
commonly see in the lower mainland. Helen pointed out a colony of
Brown Pelicans. What really surprised me was the huge colony of
Cormorants on the rocks across the bay.
took the elevator down to the sea cave and I was again impressed.
This facility is old, but it's very functional and the wildlife
obviously comes first. We watched the sea lions on the rocks for
quite a while - it was a good time.
Again, not the brightest, I didn't actually
the best "sand dune" experience was. We were pushed for time when
we arrived and had I consulted google earth, I would have known where
to go. I didn't, so we had to poke around a bit to find
We eventually found a park entrance that let
down to the inland dunes. Not huge, certainly not the devoid of
life dunes you see in some parts of the world, but still pretty
We walked around the dunes and took
photos of each other. This wasn't the huge sea of dunes I wanted
to see (such as when I visited
), but it was still nice to see.
Sadly, we were running short of time and after our brief walk about, we
walked back to the car and started driving North.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
sun was fading, but we saw the lighthouse was
still open. We swung in to take a few pictures. The
lighthouse was nice to see, but it was the massive bird colony that
really impressed me. Very cool.
And then we drove back home. The next day
we drove to Portland
for a little tax free shopping (and to celebrate the strong Canadian
dollar) and then we drove north back home.
Tags: beach(22), sunset(8), bird(7), flower(5), fog(5), tree(5)
People: Helen(11), Stephen(8), Mark(7), Kat(6), John(4), Jeremy(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > Seaside Oregon
From: John Harvey Photo > Blogs for 2020 to 2005 > Seaside Oregon
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Seaside Oregon
Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 01:31:38 Edit
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